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PERforming arts readiness (PAR)

The Performing Arts Readiness project was formed in the recognition that performing arts organizations are especially vulnerable to disasters and emergencies which can halt performances, sometimes indefinitely, and can put an organization out of business overnight. The project includes:

- Outreach and community engagement efforts to raise awareness of the value, increase the priority for, and improve understanding of the importance of planning for emergencies among all stakeholders in the performing arts.

- Information resources, models and best practices, online and in-person training, and conference programming specific to the contexts of performing arts organizations to address the need for expanded emergency preparedness knowledge and expertise in the field.

- An online resource to build customized preparedness plans to suit the needs and capacities of a diverse range of organizational sizes and situations.

- “Circuit Rider” mentoring programs to provide local community-based training, consulting, and expertise in selected cities and states. Mentoring supports the development of individual, institutional emergency plans and area-wide networks and partnerships.

- Grants to provide the resources to build or enhance cooperative emergency networks in cities, states, and regions and to support the creation of continuity of operations and emergency preparedness plans for individual institutions.

This project was launched in January 2017 through a generous grant from the Mellon Foundation. The Project Partners bring together knowledge of the performing arts field and expertise in emergency preparedness from both the performing arts and cultural heritage communities. Project Partners include ArtsReady at South Arts, Conservation Center for Art & Historic Artifacts, International Association of Blacks in Dance, LYRASIS, Midwest Art Conservation Center, National Coalition for Arts Preparedness and Emergency Response, National Performance Network, New Jersey State Council on the Arts, Northeast Document Conservation Center, and the Western Arts Alliance.


This implementation project is designed to test ideas and models resulting from a 2016 planning grant, which assessed issues and needs among performing arts organizations regarding emergency plan development. A White Paper describing the activities and findings of the planning grant may be found here.

Tom Clareson, the Project Director of Performing Arts Readiness, gave the presentation "Open Arms: Expanding the Cultural Emergency Preparedness Community" at the Library of Congress's Preservation Week on April 25, 2017, where he described the development of the project. A video of his presentation may be found here>>.

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